Friday, July 11, 2014

Gins I Have Discovered in Oregon

A few years ago I started paying attention to Gin, not drinking a lot of it but rather, tasting a lot of it. My wife never enjoyed any sort of hard liquor so wine was the choice at our house most of the time, then on a trip to Ashland all that changed. We were having lunch at Wren, a restaurants associated with Ashland Springs Hotel and saw they had a huge back bar with lots of different Gins. We came back later and the bartender gave us samples of each one to taste. They ranged from Hendricks to Boodles and from English to Oregonian.
At the time Organic Nation and Aviation were the only Oregon Gins they carried.
Here is a link to an article describing Aviation and other gins, and one more from Oregon, New Deal Portland Dry Gin: #4 Aviation Gin (84 proof) – From the moment you smell the nose of Aviation Gin, you know you’re in for something different. There’s definitely juniper and pine on the nose but it’s backed up with soft sweet orange, lush lavender, and earthy cardamom. The entry is soft and round, delivering a beautiful wide botanical medley of flavors. Juniper is there but cardamom is (More)
We have settled on one Gin as the constant house gin, Sapphire, but I bring home a new one every chance I get. Last night we tried a brand new one:Aria Portland Dry Gin. It is light and simply aromatic, that is to say that it is not complex but rather soft and subtle. Each botanical ads its own layer but none overpower. It is one of the best Gins I have ever tasted.
A friend had me taste a gin made by Ransom out of Sheridan and I was pleased with the taste and aroma though something about the mouthfeel struck me as odd. It has a tiny amount of stick to the mouth-ness that after I tasted it again I began to enjoy, Long finish!
They also make two other gins that are very different from the Portland dry gins but are amazing in their own way. I recommend tasting the Old Tom. They make a dry gin and it leans a bit to the Holland style (on purpose).
Here is a nice explanation of the styles of gin courtesy of Bend Distillery:
There are many styles of gin (almost endless), so let us slim down the field to three styles: English/London Dry style, American style, and Dutch/Holland Genever style.

English/London Dry-style Gin

English/London Dry-style gin is made using neutral grain spirits. The juniper and other botanicals (such as lemon, anise, almond, cinnamon, saffron, frankincense, coriander, cucumber, and cassia bark to name a very few) are introduced during re-distillation in a “gin basket”. This type of gin cannot contain added sweetening in order to retain its dry quality and is usually a high proof (from 80 to 95 proof).

American-style Gin

American-style gin is also made from neutral grain spirits, but the juniper and botanicals are added after distillation as an infusion. This type of gin has many names, such as compound gin, bathtub gin, and cowboy gin. American-style gins are also high-proof (from 80 to 95 proof). This is the style of Crater Lake Gin at 95 proof.

Dutch/Holland-style Genever

Dutch/Holland-style Genever is the earliest style of gin. It is distilled from barley malt and other grains, then the juniper and botanicals are added. Sometimes it is aged in wood barrels, which gives it a resemblance to whiskey. Genever usually has a lower proof (from 60 to 80 proof).

They make a Crater Lake Gin that has a really nice vanilla finish and is a great sipping gin as well as a mixer. 

For further reading about types of gin and some interesting reading jump here.

Another gin that has been around since '97 and is an old favorite is  Desert Juniper Hand Crafted American Gin.

This one is made in Bend with local ingredients and is a real winner. Read  the review done by Chris Carlsson  for more insite.

  Some I have yet to taste but look interesting:
Spruce Gin by Rogue
Pink Spruce Gin also by Rogue 
Cascade Mountain Gin (made by Bendistillery) 
New Deal Dry Gin 33 
Merrylegs Genever 
Vivacity's Native Gin and Banker's Gin
 Still more to follow!


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